Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hangar, runway expansions at DeKalb County Airport (KGWB), Auburn, Indiana

AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) – More and more corporate and commercial planes want to fly out of a regional airport. The demand has caused the DeKalb County Airport to expand.

Jet and aircraft traffic has continued to increase in recent years, and more people have wanted to house their planes at the airport. That’s why leaders with the airport authority built two new rows of hangars that will hold 11 more planes.

“We’ve had a waiting list at this airport for over a decade,” said airport manager Russ Couchman, who said there is room for 66 planes right now. The additional 11 will open in May. “Believe it or not, we have two people on the waiting list still after we filled all of the hangars we’re just building.”

Hangar space will likely continue to be addressed. The airport as another section of hangars that is outdated and will need replaced soon.

The airport also recently finished remodeling a terminal.

More planes will generate more business at the regional airport. The airport does receive a small amount of money through property taxes, but leaders hope that soon the airport will not need to rely on those dollars.

“The current board tried to make these new hangars pay for themselves,” Couchman said. “Currently they do so they won’t be a drain to us or to the taxpayer.”

The airport is also making the runway safer for those to use it.

That’s why the airport is in the midst of expanding its 5000-foot runway to somewhere between 6,400 and 7,000 feet.

“A lot of times when pilots are looking for an airport they won’t search for any airport with less than a 7,000-foot runway,” Couchman said. “We think it’s important to go to 7,000 feet to be competitive.”

The airport needed the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval for the expansion. It deemed the expansion redeemable and said it would help fund it.

The expansion will cost $9 million overall, with the FAA funding approximately $8.1 million, or 90 percent. The state will cover five percent, and the airport – along with local governments – will fit the rest of the bill.

The FAA has already helped fund the initial phases of the project. It began with an environmental impact study, which took five years.

From there, engineers are working with others to get other projects done so the runway can be extended.

The airport is working with American Electric Power to remove power lines, which AEP had planned as it increases power in the Auburn area. It has already gotten permission to remove a section of County Road 29, between C.R. 60 and 62. The airport will build a new road to help motorists. Also a section of wetlands, which sits on the east end of the property, will be moved off site west of the airport. Extending the runway will give pilots flying in bad weather conditions a longer area to land. “This is a major safety concern,” said Couchman.

Pilots flying in bad weather come in to land at a different angle and need more space to stop.

“If you have to shoot a minimum approach, you will have to use a stabilized approach,” Dan Schiebel, a pilot who flies out of the DeKalb airport a few times a week, said. “That’s going to put your touch down approximately 1,200 feet down the runway. At a 5,000-foot strip like Auburn, that leaves you with 3,800 feet.”

Schiebel said an average jet would need at least 3,000 feet to land in that scenario. If snow, rain, or ice is on the runway, the landing would take more space and could easily force the pilot to make landing arrangements at another airport.

“Runway behind you or non-existing runway is pretty useless to an airplane pilot,” said Couchman.

With all the outlying work needed to pave the runway, the extension would likely take place in the next three to five years.

Original article can be found here:

Wyoming's Civil Air Patrol looking for volunteers, cadets

CHEYENNE - A little-known group is looking for volunteers and cadets to take part in search-and rescue flights and other missions.

Col. Ken Johnston, commander of the Civil Air Patrol's Wyoming wing, told local business leaders Friday that the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force is looking for new members.

"We provide a tremendous benefit to the Air Force and to the local community," he said during a presentation about the group to the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce's monthly Military Affairs Committee luncheon. "And part of the reason I'm here is recruitment."

The Civil Air Patrol, including its Wyoming wing, was created by Congress in 1941 to help with disaster and emergency responses, as well as to provide aerospace education programs and training for cadets.

It is made up of about 60,000 volunteers and 550 aircraft across the nation.

The patrol receives its funding from the federal government, donations and membership fees, since the volunteers routinely have to pay for their travel and other expenses.

Its Wyoming members routinely take part in search-and-rescue operations, where they assist the National Guard or other groups with missions that include finding missing hikers or downed aircraft.

The group also helped with last year's flood relief efforts in the state by taking photos of the flood conditions and sending them to the Wyoming National Guard.

Johnston said the patrol helped save five lives last year alone.

But he said much of the public doesn't even know the group exists. "We've been around a long time, but a lot of people don't know about us," he said. "That's why I consider us to be the best-kept secret around."

But Johnston said he doesn't want to keep the group a secret.

He said volunteers don't have to be involved in the military, and many, like himself, do it part time.

In addition to taking new volunteers, he said the Civil Air Patrol is always on the lookout for 12- to 18-year-olds who want to become a cadet.

The cadet program offers "aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership," according to the Civil Air Patrol's website.

Johnston said the program is especially beneficial for those looking to join the Air Force.

"About 10 of the Air Force Academy members are Civil Air Patrol cadets," he said. "So if they want to get involved with any of the academies, this will give them a step up."

Those who want more information on the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol can find it on the group's website at

Original article can be found here: